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SoftBank to sell 5% of wireless arm for up to $2.9 billion

The group plans to offload 240 million shares of SoftBank Corp
The group plans to offload 240 million shares of SoftBank Corp (REUTERS)

The mounting losses have also imposed immense pressure on SoftBank’s often opaque structure and management.

SoftBank Group Corp. plans to raise as much as $2.9 billion by selling a 5% stake in its Japanese wireless subsidiary this month, the latest in a series of asset divestitures intended to fortify its ailing balance sheet.

The group intends to sell 240 million shares of SoftBank Corp. for 1,306.5 yen to 1,320 yen apiece, a discount of as much as 5% to Thursday’s close. The parent company said its ownership stake will fall to 62.1% after the deal, which closes May 26.

Founder Masayoshi Son has said he would sell off about $42 billion in assets to help finance stock buybacks and pay down debt. SoftBank disclosed it’s selling shares in Alibaba Group Holding Ltd. through complex contracts, and it’s in talks to sell about $20 billion of T-Mobile US Inc., Bloomberg News reported this week.

Son is struggling with the impact of the coronavirus on a portfolio of startups weighted heavily toward the sharing economy. Its Vision Fund business lost 1.9 trillion yen last fiscal year after writing down the value of investments from WeWork to Uber Technologies Inc. The billionaire has turned to ever larger stock buybacks to sustain SoftBank in the interim.

(By Pavel Alpeyev)

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